Senior Column: Journalist reflects on high school experience

In+a+digitally+constructed+image+created+by+senior+designer+Caitlyn+Richey%2C+a+picture+of+Richey+at+three-years-old+is+displayed+next+to+a+senior+photo+taken+of+Richey+this+school+year+%E2%80%93+15+years+later.+As+a+beautiful+chapter+of+my+life+comes+to+a+close%2C+Richey+said%2C+it+is+bittersweet+and+exciting+to+reflect+on+the+memories+Ive+made+and+look+forward+to+the+ones+I+will+make+in+the+coming+years.+Richey+will+attend+Brigham+Young+University+this+fall+and+plans+to+major+in+Exercise+and+Wellness+with+a+minor+in+Ballet.

Caitlyn Richey

In a digitally constructed image created by senior designer Caitlyn Richey, a picture of Richey at three-years-old is displayed next to a senior photo taken of Richey this school year – 15 years later. “As a beautiful chapter of my life comes to a close,” Richey said, “it is bittersweet and exciting to reflect on the memories I’ve made and look forward to the ones I will make in the coming years.” Richey will attend Brigham Young University this fall and plans to major in Exercise and Wellness with a minor in Ballet.

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High school wasn’t always a musical, but what I will remember most is the love and support I felt from family members and mentors, the deep and lasting friendships I made, and the important lessons I learned. As a beautiful chapter of my life comes to a close, it is bittersweet and exciting to reflect on the experiences I’ve had and memories I’ve made, and also look forward to those that are to come.

Dance

In the 15 years I have been dancing, this athletic art form has helped to shape my character and who I am today. Dance has pushed me to achieve difficult goals and taught me that in order to achieve them, patience, time, and persistent practice are required. Dance has opened many doors and built connections that have and will continue to be catalysts for further growth and opportunities. Although a competitive sport, I have been blessed to experience true friendship and offer the same, through both exciting successes as well as unfair or trying experiences. My training has fostered skills such as time management, organization, and balance, and ultimately has helped me develop a strong work ethic that will be beneficial to me in all I strive to do. At Brigham Young University this fall, I plan to major in exercise and wellness and minor in ballet, which will allow me to continue to help others safely achieve their athletic and recovery goals, and continue to study this art form that I love so much.

Music

It is difficult to find words that sufficiently express my love for music and the way that it has shaped me. Having participated in the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras for the past seven years, and the Prosper High School choir program for the past four, I have been truly uplifted and blessed with some of the most inspiring and musically engaging experiences in my life. I have gathered with kindred spirits to offer and partake in the incredible music of the masters, sung in historic venues such as the Strathmore and Carnegie Hall, and participated in the recording of Billboard chart-topping albums and globally shared music films.  These experiences and many more have increased my love for classical and choral music, as well as all wholesome and uplifting music. Music has motivated me to persevere through difficult times, inspired me to be better, helped me to develop and strengthen friendships with some incredible people and most of all strengthened my faith. Having experienced firsthand the uniquely powerful influence of music in my life and the joy of sharing it with others, it will definitely continue to be a part of who I am and one of my greatest passions.

From left to right, sister and sophomore Lauren Richey, former Prosper High School student Ainsley Rose and senior Caitlyn Richey smile as they hold each other close. “These are two of my best friends,” Richey said. “I am so thankful God placed them in my path and many others who have blessed my life tremendously.” (Caitlyn Richey)

Social Media & Friends

Choosing not to have social media platforms during high school is a decision I will always be so grateful I made. This decision has allowed me to develop real and lasting friendships and be fully present in the treasured memories I have made. Without the influence of social media I have enjoyed freedom with my time, stayed true to myself and out of drama and have been able to gain a clearer perspective of what is most important in life.

Throughout high school, my awareness of others and the importance of being a good friend to all has heightened. Something as simple as a hello or a smile can brighten and even save someone’s day, create a new friendship and perhaps inspire them to pay it forward. In addition to being a good friend, I have learned for myself that seeking good, consistent and true friends who uplift, inspire and never tear you or others down is so important. Such friends stand up for you, appreciate you as you are, respect you, support you in your interests and celebrate your successes without feeling threatened, and allow you to do the same. I am so thankful for the friends God has placed in my path over the years and for the many ways they have taught me and blessed my life.

Faith

I cannot reflect on my high school experience without taking the chance to acknowledge how much my faith has been strengthened over the years, and how it has strengthened and shaped me. As I have trusted God and acted on my faith, I have found greater power to overcome challenges, capacity to see the good that surrounds me, and strength to stand for what I believe as I strive to achieve my goals. A religious leader I deeply respect said, “We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.” Though I still have a long way to go to become all I want to be, it is because of my faith that I find strength to self-correct, redirect, improve each day, and find great joy in my high school and life’s journey.

Family

As I enter this next chapter of life, I reflect on and celebrate all that has shaped me into the person I am today. Among the many individuals that I am incredibly thankful for, I am most thankful for those who have been with me each step of my journey teachers, friends, and teammates, but most especially, my family.

As they take a family photo, senior Caitlyn Richey sits with her family around her. “My family has been my greatest support from day one,” Richey said. “They are my best friends. I know that no matter how far away I am they will always be there for me, and that we will stay just as close and continue to grow even closer.”(Caitlyn Richey)

My family has always been my greatest support in my faith, friendships, academics and activities. From my very first dance recital to elementary school musicals, late-night track meets, choir performances, ballet showcases, and now to graduation, they have been there, cheering me on and encouraging me to set and work hard to achieve challenging goals. Sharing in some of these experiences with my sister, who is my best friend, has been an incredible and fun blessing.

Through word and example, my parents have taught me countless valuable lessons regarding the importance of, and how to live, a life of integrity, compassion, service, gratitude, patience, respect, resilience and so much more. Perhaps most of all, I will always carry with me their message to, “Remember who you are” and, “Have courage and be kind.”

To Eagle Nation

Some of my parting advice would include the following: stay true to yourself. Do what you love and share the joy you find in it with others. Never take for granted time spent with family and friends, and work to strengthen those relationships as they will be a great strength to you. Remember the powerful positive impact a smile can have. And, last but definitely not least, be fully present and find joy in the journey; thank you for being such a wonderful part of mine.

Love, Caitlyn Richey